Office of Councillor Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi Ward, Ottawa | (613) 580-2485  |
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Wednesday's Council summary

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City Council on Wednesday was a meaty one with multiple substantial issues debated and decided. Here’s what transpired and how I approached the various items.

Chateau Laurier

The Chateau Laurier expansion/alteration proved anti-climactic after a motion passed earlier by the Built Heritage Sub-committee (BHSC) sailed through largely without debate. Clearly hearing residents’ dissatisfaction with seeing the same design put forward several times, the BHSC approved the expansion subject to several conditions. Staff are to work with the architect and Chateau to incorporate more Indiana limestone and better reference the existing building. Once staff are satisfied, the new design will go back to the BHSC for comment, and then the site plan will come to us at Planning Committee for approval. As the final motion was written, we will only pass the design if it meets the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places.

I supported this approach both at Planning Committee and Council, confident that there will be significant expert and other public input into the design, and that we have the necessary leverage to stop the proposal if we’re not satisfied that future design changes are appropriate.

Greenhouse gas reductions

I was pleased that a motion I brought at Environment Committee to immediately implement more ambitious corporate (City) greenhouse gas reduction targets was approved by Council. At Environment, staff had proposed to bring a recommendation in the next term of Council to reduce GHG emissions further from our current targeted 12 per cent below the 2012 baseline levels by 2024 to a new target of 20 per cent. After hearing from delegations at Committee, I moved that that be implemented now rather than in the next term.

Festival recycling

At Council, I seconded a motion with Councillor Moffatt to replace a motion against which I had voted at Environment Committee to study forcing festivals over 500 people to recycle and collect composting. The original motion had sought to have staff propose approaches by June 2019. The new motion will achieve the same result, targeting the 2020 festival season, by making our study of it part of a comprehensive review of the special events by-law that will be underway. I absolutely consider that larger festivals should be required to collect recycling and compost and am pleased that the new approach will also look at how the City can support festivals in doing that. Rather than being studied in isolation, making the review part of our larger look at festivals and events gives us the chance to look at the bigger picture.

Guns and gangs officers

Also on Wednesday, the Mayor brought a motion to spend an immediate ~$660,000 on hiring ten new guns and gangs officers to address gun violence in Ottawa. The money would be spent in anticipation of further funding coming from a new federal strategy to deal with drug crime. Thanks to those of you who wrote to me as I pondered how to approach this one. I sit on the board of Crime Prevention Ottawa, and consider that we’re on the right path at that organization funding a four-pronged approach to what we’re now calling street-level violence.

While the Mayor’s office was unable to tell me how much of that future funding might go toward policing and how much toward our other three pillars, I am cautiously assured that when the federal funding kicks in, there will be a sufficient amount allocated to Ottawa to fund more than just policing to address drug crime. Policing – enforcement and suppression – will not solve our gun violence issue in the long term, and I will continue to advocate for prevention as a priority.

Markets corporation

The new Markets corporation reported to Councillors – its sole shareholders – on their progress to date and received ratification of their governing by-law. I’ve been serving on the nominating committee for its board along with the Mayor and Councillor Fleury, and we finalized two appointments on Wednesday. Future board members will be nominated by the corporation. There has been a good discussion in the community about the relationship between the new Markets corporation and community stakeholders, and I will continue to be very active on this file as the transition from a City-run organization highly constrained by by-laws to a more independent body with greater flexibility to respond to changing consumer tastes continues. I took advantage of Wednesday’s meeting to stress the need for continued collaboration with our community partners as Parkdale Market evolves.

Barrhaven LRT environmental assessment

At our Council meeting, we also voted to use money from development charges and the transit reserve to fund an environmental assessment for extending LRT to Barrhaven. I supported that. Having an EA in hand is fundamental to quickly taking advantage of future federal and provincial funding, and I believe strongly that getting LRT further into the south end will become more important as that area grows. Bus rapid transit needs to be looked at closely in terms of pricing and service to ensure we’ve optimized it. However, with the change in provincial government and possible new approaches in the province to transportation, it behooves us to be ready for any pivots. I was not prepared to oppose at least getting an EA underway.

The vote, though, brings us a step closer to what will be some key debates in the next term of Council as we refresh the Transportation Master Plan. One of the key post-2031 projects identified in the current plan is the Carling line. With the Hospital, Westgate and 1705 Carling projects chugging through the system, and a very substantial re-development of the Travelodge site proposed, Carling is poised to become heavily-intensified over the next 20 years. The Carling line will be key to pursuing that in a sustainable way.

The debate over what we build first is shaping up to be one of the most important discussions we’ll have in the next term.

Other items

Also of note from Wednesday was the passage of a zoning amendment to protect the existing set-backs on Island Park Drive, as well as the Cleary-New Orchard Planning study. These were passed on consent after we debated and recommended them for Council’s approval at our previous Planning Committee meeting. I was also the seconder on a motion by Councillor McKenney to provide the necessary permission (a formality, really) to serve alcohol at Festival Nostalgia. The fest takes place August 24 – 26 at Lebreton, and features 19 tribute bands covering the music of the 70s, 80s and 90s.

Find the full summary of debate and votes here.

Posted June 29, 2018